Confucianism

I was just reading some of the basics tents of confiucianism, and he seems to contradict himself to some degree at a lot of times, primarily in his crossed beliefs between personal virtue, knowing your place, and ogvernmental virtue. Those seem like they could run into each-other a lot.
Anyway, it’s very interesting, I’ll go between really agreeing with what he says and thinking “Shit, Confucius is a G,” to “What a motherfucker,” at times when he talks about family structure and things.

So Confucius is confusing?

Confucius say “Do what I do, not what I say?”

He’ll contradict himself a lot mainly to challenge his students to think (most of what has been compiled were similar to lectures he’d give). Overall he stays fairly consitant despite what may seem to be constant paradoxes. Some of his views on family structure aren’t applicable now, but you have to remember the time and place he was writing in.

Wise words from the mighty Kagon, who could show himself some more. >:o.
I haven’t really noticed any major contradictions so far. You might also want to read different translations.

Or take them with a grain of salt. There’s controversy about the Bible’s translations and we’ve supposedly been following the book for a couple o’ thousand years.

Hell, there’s controversy for the translation of the ancient Greeks into modern Greek.

Perhaps we should just admit we don’t know the damn things that well, we are sorry.

Well, it isn’t really a translation; I’m reading it in Romanticized chinese (because I cannot read chinese characters, but can read the words written in our letters). I don’t know, his opinions on government jsut seem so contradictory at times, but I’ll agree that it makes you think a lot.
Aside from chauvanism, one of the not-applicable-now bits, and that he sometimes says you should know your place under a malevolent ruler (although sometimes he says you shouldn’t), are my only prelaly problems. It’s pretty chill otherwise. A lot less insane and bigoted than more than half of the other religions I’ve experienced.

I’m wary of Confucianism because, from my limited learning about it, it has too many rigid rules which just don’t apply to life. Basing their government on Confucianism made the Chinese totally unready to deal with the West. Though I also think Taoism is probably the truest of all the religions in terms of explaining life and existence.

Not believing land could be blamed made the Native Americans totally unready for the West, but that doesn’t make it a bad philophy, just an impractical one. confucianism isn’t even that impractical, we in the west are just trained to believe benevolent governance (not to say it was always benevolent in the East, mind you, because benevolent governance is nearly an oxymoron) is a naive dream of the past. Although, some of confucianism is quite outmoded, the overall philosophy isn’t bad at all.
Oh, and I haven’t really seen any rigid rules, unless you’re failing to interpret proverbs. Analects is mostly built on proverbs, and any of the stricter ones contradict themselves to give you a choice, or have the all-important ‘if’ in them. I’m only about half-way through, though.

I’m thinking specifically of the familial roles.

There’s nothing wrong with contradicting yourself if your beliefs focus on balance rather than extremism, which many asian philosophies did. Buddhism comes to mind, “The Middle Path,” Taoism, Shintoism, even Chinese Medicine used yin and yang as a symbol. You can do two things that point in two different directions and neither would be wrong depending on the time and circumstances. I agree with Kagon that he wanted his students to think and not just follow rules, but I’d go even further and say that he wanted them to think in context, and make the decision that is most right for them at that place and time.

Personal virtue and governmantal virtue are not necessarily opposed.

Well, they never WANTED to deal with the west in the first place. China had a happy sino-centristic and autonomous little world which was able to take care of their own business until the English came storming in.

And everyone always gets what they want in life :stuck_out_tongue:

Or you could say the West was totally unready to meet other ideas. Okay, not totally, it had plenty of gunpowder.

Kagon and Hades: I would agree that seems like what he’d go for, but it’s slightly more confusing since so few of his ideas are literally stated and you don’t have the benefit of actually hearing them in person and getting the full context. I have no problem with self-contradiction (being a Walt Whitman fan and all), it’s just an interesting note in philosophical ideals; it can cause stryfe between which one to follow or allow a contextual decision on which ideal is better suited to this time. It can give flexibility or conflict, and it’s a risky road to take with a philosophy.
Oh, and I wasn’t talking about personal and governmental virtue, I’d say those go hand-in-hand together.

Curtis: I’d say his family ideas are pretty much and outmoded product of his times. In the early River-Valley civilizations (well, Classical, since he was Zhou dynasty, not Shang), chauvanism was the seasonal pie. Some of his ideas need updating, but I’d say it’s amazing how few, considering he lived 25 centuries ago in a totally different world.

Well, no matter which philosophical theory, you always have to consider the historical context anyway. Each idea is a spawn of the circumstances. Also, you might want to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozi / http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/mozi.html . He was greatly criticized by Confucius and other philosophers during his time for his ideas, as they mainly said he would dissolve all social structures and instead of restoring the order he would lead it into chaos instead.

It’s true- he never really likes to come out and say exactly what he stands for. A lot of it is reading between the lines and looking for some sort of consistencies. I think a lot of what he’s written and said is quite beautiful.

DT: Yeah, I’ve read about Mozi. He gives me the same feelings as Confucius. He’ll say something really cool, like his opinions about war and self-knowledge, but then some of his opinions I will really violently disagree with it, like his stance against things that didn’t serve a useful purpose.

Kagon: I’d agree. I like him more than most philophers, so far. I’m about 2/3 of the way through Analects now.

Why would you violently disagree with an opinion about things that don’t serve a useful purpose? Is it because he has an opinion on useless things?

He thought music and dancing were wastes of time and shouldn’t be practiced because they ‘server no useful purpose’, and most things like that. While he had many logical ideas about pacifism and whatnot, he also seemed to want to destroy anything that was created for enjoyment and didn’t serve an ulterior purpose. Or, even, just didn’t serve an ulterior purpose in his worldview.